The alternate realities of music festivals

In just under a year, I’ve done four music festivals in full. In June of 2012 I did NXNE, in August, ALL CAPS!, in February of this year, Wavelength 13, and just last week, Canadian Music Week.

What I’ve noticed every time is that while I’m doing these festivals, I’m part of a different world for as long as they’re happening. For Wavelength 13 it was to a lesser extent, but that’s only because I was able to sleep in after three out of the four shows. I wasn’t running around Toronto doing day shows and interviews.

ALL CAPS! was a particularly fun experience, as it was like a peaceful weekend getaway even though Toronto Island is fifteen-minute ferry ride from the mainland. For two days, I was blissfully sealed away in a music-and-art landscape, and when I emerged from it on the Sunday evening I didn’t really feel like I had missed anything in the “real world.”

NXNE last year was definitely the first time I felt that feeling of alternate realities. For the first time in a while, I had an extremely busy schedule that had nothing to do with my part-time job. It was five solid days of meeting for interviews, attending day shows when I could, and of course attending the evening showcases.

If it was even possible, Canadian Music Week had me even busier than NXNE last year, but that was because of several reasons; 1) I had school, 2) My workplace scheduled me to work for a few hours on 3/6 CMW days, 3) I had more interviews and day things to attend. In other words, I had barely any time to do anything. I would usually end up at home somewhere between 1:30 and 2:30 a.m., at which point I would write my review of the day. Then I’d sleep for five hours, maybe, and the day would start again.

While in these bubbles of alternate reality, I am betraying my journalistic traits (ie seeking out the news) so much that I feel like I’m in a cave. I just realized today that I haven’t really read a newspaper since last week Monday, so I felt weirdly disconnected from the world. It’s good to start knowing what’s happening.

As an unfortunate side effect of being in music land for days on end, I seem to also get sick from it. Right after NXNE, I came down with a really awful cough (and maybe cold, I forget) which later turned into pink eye. I’m now suffering from a bit of a runny nose, even though I just had a cold last month (or this month, timelines aren’t working too well in my head right now).

It’s nice to get away from the world for a while, but it’s also just as good to return to it. And that’s what I hope I’m going to do today.

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